Russia orders people to stay at home as COVID cases risetext_fields
President Vladimir Putin had declared an extended holiday from October 30 to November 7 to allow Russians to stay at home as the country experiences a surge in Covid-19 cases. In some of Russia's 85 regions where the situation is particularly grave, Putin said the nonworking period could begin earlier and be extended beyond November 7.
The Russian government recorded a jump of 37,930 new cases in the last 24 hours which is one of the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. The death toll has also been rising with 1069 deaths confirmed in the same time period. The spike in cases has been attributed to lax mask mandates and slow uptake of vaccinations, even though Russia was one of the first countries to develop and release a coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V.
The Kremlin has ordered all non-essential businesses to close. Primary schools, shopping centers and gyms will be closed while restaurants and cafes will ONly be open for takeout and delivery. Pharmacies and grocery stores will still be operational during the holiday period. Access to museums, theaters, concert halls and other venues will be limited to those holding digital codes on their smartphones to prove vaccination or past illness, a practice that will remain in place after Nov. 7.
Only about 45 million Russians roughly a third of the country's nearly 146 million people are fully vaccinated. The Kremlin hopes to buy time to stop the spread even as it keeps people away from places where Covid-19 spreads more easily.